three home runs
in Orioles win
By Rich Mancuso
BRONX, NEW YORK, April 14- Phil Hughes did not have command of his fastball and the Baltimore Orioles took advantage. Hughes allowed three solo home runs in the second, third and fourth innings and never looked back as the Orioles defeated New York 5-3.
Baltimore took the middle game of three that concludes in the Bronx Sunday night after dropping game one of the series Friday evening.
When Hughes has problems with command of the fastball, the results have been consistent, especially when pitching at home. The right hander allowed 9 hits and five earned runs in 3-1/3 innings, and has allowed one home run in 31 of his last 42 starts at Yankee Stadium.
“One of those days and that’s what happens when you put balls over the plate,” said Hughes about the home runs balls allowed to Ryan Flaherty, Nick Markakis and Nolan Reimold. It was his second straight loss to open the season, and very reminiscent of his slow start of last year.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi saw similar command issues from Hughes last April. However with a revamped Yankees lineup that is hindered with injuries, the starters are expected to go some innings. New York is 1-5 this early season when their opponent scores first.
“He’ll get back at it and we’ll get him back on track,” said Girardi about his right hander.
The Orioles stopped a New York four-game winning streak after a late inning opening game loss of the series Friday night. Manager Buck Showwalter saw a struggling Flaherty, 1-for-18, before the home run, get the offense going with the long ball in the second inning.
“They don’t dwell on past things,” good or bad,” said Showalter about the resiliency of his club. “That’s one of the characteristics of our club.” Jason Hammel (2-1), 6.0 innings, 8 hits and three runs earned his second win of the season and Jim Johnson picked up his fifth save retiring all three Yankees at bat.
“He got a big out with Gardner (Brett), with Cano (Robinson) coming up,” commented Showalter. “To close out games on the road in the AL East is a tough, tough, thing to do. Jimmy has been impressive.”
David Phelps, Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson pitched six innings of scoreless ball and gave up two hits and combined to strike out seven.
Said Phelps about getting the first strike with his curve ball, a pitch that was ineffective, last week in a relief outing at Detroit, "My curve ball was best since spring training. Getting strike one was something I could not do in my first two outings and that got me ahead real well.”
Cano recorded his fourth straight multi-hit game, 2-for-5, and was inserted at shortstop in the ninth inning, his first position other than second base in his career and he was not surprised
“We were ready to do that in Detroit last week,” said Cano about making some plays at short, a position usually occupied by the injured Derek Jeter. “I was ready.” Cano, who played a limited time at short in the minors, also had the opportunity with Eduardo Nunez day-to-day after getting hit by a pitch to his right wrist Friday night.